Genre-blending producer Audnoyz tells CM what's lurking on his hard drive…
Cakewalk SONAR X1
It's like a Logic equivalent for Windows. It's pretty versatile, sounds great, and I don't need a dongle to run it! SONAR has a lot of great plug-ins - topping my list are the convolution reverb (which I use a lot for reversing the impulse responses), the tempo delay, bit decimator, built-in channel compressors, and EQs. Basically all the dynamics processors are just great. Also, the ability to stay organised using track folders is just so important, especially with track counts north of 80!
I have two UAD-1 cards and use them religiously on every project. My favorite plug-ins are the Fairchild comp that you can really push hard, LA-2A, 1176 blackface, the EMT plate 140 reverb (which is a real gem and great for the retro sound I go for a lot with vocals), the Nigel guitar rack (used on tracks other than guitars like saxophone), and the CS1 processor, which has some freaky modulation and filter effects.
Cakewalk Z3TA+ 2 & Rapture
I got hipped to "Zaayta" by a couple of my DnB friends who had been using it for phat bass sounds long before Cakewalk owned it. I also run the Z3Ta+ fx plug-in as a VST audio effect, which is just brilliant on anything, especially vocals. Nothing sounds like Rapture and, like Z3TA+, it comes from the RGC pedigree. It's really light on CPU and fantastic for soundscapes, creating textures and weirdness. My favorite patches by far are Biolabs (Biomechanoid), PatchArea (Chad Beckwith) and Big Tone (Nico Hertz).
Sonic Charge Microtonic
This is a great drum synth, and it's easy to use too. It's my go-to for electronic grooves and there are lots of free programs available for it! Nice round kicks that don't need additional EQ or compression, and you can really come up with some interesting sounds, messing with the mod and noise controls. It's so much more than a drum machine - it's really a "sound tool" - and it's really light on CPU too.
It's always the final stage of my mastering chain. It provides a level of control that's unlike so many brickwall limiters. I like having control over the transient form that affects overall colorisation and transient response - I find it can really make a difference depending on the material you are working on. I tend to use the asymmetric transient form a lot to vary things to get a more analog outcome.